WASHINGTON--Millions of smokers could be priced out of health insurance because of tobacco penalties in President Barack Obama’s health care law, according to experts who are just now teasing out the potential impact of a little-noted provision in the massive legislation. The Affordable Care Act allows health insurers to charge smokers buying individual policies up to 50 percent higher premiums starting next Jan. 1. For a 55-year-old smoker, the penalty could reach nearly $4,250 a year. A 60-year-old could wind up paying nearly $5,100 on top of premiums. Younger smokers could be charged lower penalties under rules proposed
Comments: Oh, what a slippery slope! First--I thought taxes on cigarettes went, if only partly, to paying for any damage smokers are said to cause to themselves. Will smokers then be treated as "victims" of drug abuse? After that it´s almost certain that those designated as "obese" will be the next group ordered to pay 50% more. Skiiers and others involved in "dangerous" sports to follow. Those who own motor bikes? Those who eat "too much" meat? The mind well and truly boggles.
This will certainly open up penalties on other lifestyles. My own company is easing into premiums based on BMI. The funny thing is that I don´t believe actuaries omit these people when they determine premium rates. Insurance companies are the winners.
While I loath smoking, and agree with the meme that "80% of health problems are caused by overeating and under exercising", I agree that this is a VERY slippery slope.
We all know a universal health care law was the Holy Grail for liberals. They don´t really care about health. These freaks only care about using it to control other people - and it is already thoroughly underway.
A story out of Oregon earlier this week suggested the state is considering making tobacco ´prescription only´.
That´d be a real hoot. On top of your ´augmented´ premiums - wait for $40 per pack taxes to kick in - for a $55 a pack total - then of course some sort of government ´assistance´ to help the ´indigent´ afford smokes.
Humorously, no mention of the health premium that *gays* would be forced to pay for *their* lifestyle choices...or as #1 points out - the rest of the ´unhealthy slobs´ in society. No telling if ´bias discrimination´ will be covered under new mental health treatment regs...
Insurers won´t be allowed to charge more under the overhaul for people who are overweight, or have a health condition like a bad back or a heart that skips beats — but they can charge more if a person smokes.
But smokers die young--thereby saving the rest of us for the years of their demise. Their premiums should be LOWER. Smoking should be ENCOURAGED for the good of non-smokers. Ditto people who live on ice cream.
This is a foray into risk-based premiums. Much of my insurance premiums over the trajectory of my life has been risk-based. Of course, there are other, and perhaps more substantial risks. The risk of age, for example: OCARE charges the young and hale a lot of excess premium to pay for the older and sicker. My current life policy also rated drinking, risky life-style choices, presence of certain diseases ... all of these factor into proper premium charges.
The best comment made here was great - so you thought OCARE would be free?
How will this be enforced? Wiith underover smoking police? I think smoking is really disgusting, and like most ex smokers, I hate the smell of it. But how can an employer, or the government, enforce that rule on premium? If someone is smoking an e cigarette, are they exempt from the rule?
Those who are so indignant at this, should realize that this is all good for private industry, the insurance industry. Look at the way this is all set up - it´s totally insurance methodology, the same as if you were talking about your house or your car. Except this is talking about you.
Sure, they made the pre-existing conditions thing part of the whole political deal that just had to be in there. So yeah, the insurance industry loses out on that one tiny miniscule piece of their business, but they´ve been given the keys to this whole thing. The government´s not going to run the health care system; the insurance industry is going to run the healthcare system.
This is why Zippy´ EO directed the CDC to study gun ownership as if it were a disease. It´s a foregone conclusion that thier "studies" will show increased risk of injury if you live in a home with a gun. Then presto they´ll make owning guns unaffordable by hiking your premiums through the roof.
Congress´ top GOP watchdog is warning the secretary of Health and Human Services to stop instructing contractors behind healthcare.gov not to talk to Congress about the project. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chair Darrell Issa, a hard-charging California Republican, told Sec. Kathleen Sebelius in a letter on Wednesday that it´s against the law to get between Congress and the companies her agency hired to work on the crash-and-burn website. [Snip] ´The federal obstruction laws reflect the fact that Congress’ right of access to information is constitutionally based,´ his letter warned,´ and critical to the integrity and
When my immigrant wife first came to Britain, it took her ages to understand our GP system. If I fell ill, I had to wait days to see the doctor. But if she felt sick, the same doctor would see her that afternoon as she was categorised as a private patient (and paid a modest £50 for the privilege). As far as she could work out, it was a Russian-style system of bribery: the official system doesn’t work, but you can bypass it with a few backhanders. Yesterday, we were shown a little more about Britain’s GP network. The Care Quality Commission looked into 920 practices and found almost a third failing to meet basic standards.
Sometimes life in the West seems hard. The trains don´t run on time, the rent is too damn high and One Direction are everywhere. Then a story comes comes out of North Korea that makes you think, "Holy crap, I´m glad I don´t live there…" North Korea has just executed Kim Jong-un´s uncle on the grounds that he is "despicable human scum". The full verdict is: Despicable human scum Jang, who was worse than a dog, perpetrated thrice-cursed acts of treachery in betrayal of such profound trust and warmest paternal love shown by the party and the leader for him.
Traces of prescription drugs have been found in far greater quantities in US drinking water supplies than previously thought, a study has claimed. A report on drinking water carried out by the Environmental Protection Agency has found samples of at least 25 different drugs, including medication to treat heart conditions, in supplies coming out of wastewater treatment plants. Medication to treat high blood pressure was not only the most commonly traced drug, but also found in the highest quantities. Health officials say that the traces of the drugs, which include over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and prescription drugs such as
A number of Yahoo Mail users were blocked from their email accounts on Monday night - and three days later some people are still reporting problems. The company blamed the outage on a ‘hardware problem’ in a mail data centre but didn’t expand further and then last night, CEO Marissa Mayer tweeted claiming service had been restored. However, customers responded in anger to her tweet, claiming they still couldn’t access their emails, while others who had managed to gain access complained some of their emails were missing. A number of Yahoo Mail users were blocked from their accounts on Monday,
Why did 91 heads of state and 71 so-called eminent persons fly from all the corners of the earth to attend Nelson Mandela’s memorial service on Tuesday? Most of them will doubtless have wanted to pay their respects to one of the great men of our age. [Snip] There can be jokes and laughter. But there is no room for larking about, especially if you are one of the leaders of the Free World. Larking about may scarcely cover the behaviour of President Barack Obama, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Prime Minister of Denmark, and our own David Cameron during the memorial service.
The handshake seen ´round the water cooler was no fluke, it turns out. When President Barack Obama approached the podium at Nelson Mandela´s memorial service and made a beeline for a row of foreign leaders--stopping first to shake Cuban dictator Raúl Castro´s hand--it came after representatives from the two historically antagonistic nations had already been in talks for six months. ´[B]ehind the scenes,´ two Daily Beast national security reporters wrote on Tuesday, ´U.S. and Cuban officials have held midlevel discussions in Havana and Washington on a range of issues, including direct postal service, migration issues, disaster response, and search and
New York — The anchor who might beat Bill O’Reilly gets her eyelash extensions applied one at a time, with tweezers and dabs of glue, about 90 minutes before showtime, right after a motorized gun sprays foundation over her face, neck, shoulders, collarbone and sternum, wiping out a galaxy of light freckles that spreads across her — Let me stop you right there. Photos of the day Uruguay legalizes marijuana, Kiev police pull back from protesters, aging U.S. prison population and more. Tuesday´s Photos of the day Would you write this way about a man? About O’Reilly himself? At least that’s what Megyn Kelly might ask at
In August 2013 I became very sick with what I thought was a cold. After a few days I lost vision in my left eye and I checked into the hospital. I soon found out that what I thought was a summer cold was actually Strep bacteria poisoning my blood stream. The bacteria blinded my left eye, ate a hole through my heart, caused five strokes on both sides of my brain and forced the removal of my prosthetic left knee. Dr. Lee was the surgeon assigned to perform open heart surgery. What was originally scheduled to last four hours ended
When I was a kid, I knew two different Santa Clauses. The first had a fat belly, rosy cheeks, a long white beard, and skin as pink as bubble gum. He was omnipresent, visiting my pre-school and the local mall, visible in all of my favorite Christmas specials. Then there was the Santa in my family’s household, in the form of ornaments, cards, and holiday figurines. A near-carbon copy of the first one—big belly, rosy cheeks, long white beard: check, check, check. But his skin was as dark as mine. Seeing two different Santas was bewildering. Eventually I asked my father what
Johannesburg - A man who provided sign language interpretation on stage for Nelson Mandela´s memorial service, attended by scores of heads of state, was a "fake," the national director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa said on Tuesday. Asked about the claim by The Associated Press, South Africa´s government said it was preparing a statement. Three sign language experts said the man was not signing in South African or American sign languages. South African sign language covers all of the country´s 11 official languages, according to the federation. It wasn´t immediately clear if the unidentified man was using a
The health director who approved the release of President Obama’s birth certificate has died in a plane crash, Hawaiian officials said Thursday. Loretta Fuddy died after the Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft she was travelling on went down shortly after leaving Kalaupapa Airport at around 3:15 p.m. local time (10:15 a.m. ET) on Wednesday. The other eight people on board were rescued, Richard Schuman, president of Makani Kai Air, told NBC News early Thursday, adding that that there was no indication as to why the plane had crashed. Fuddy hit the headlines two years ago when she approved a waiver request allowing Obama to
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) snapped at conservative groups that have come out in opposition to the budget deal reached Wednesday between Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). "They´re using the American people for their own purposes. This is ridiculous," Boehner said at a press conference with other members of House Republican leadership on Wednesday. Over the past few days, a number of conservative groups have blasted the deal because it sets discretionary spending levels in the budget higher than previous levels under sequestration. In the past three days, the influential Heritage Action, Club for Growth, Americans
Views of the tea party are at all-time lows in a new poll, as primary challenges to establishment Republicans continue to heat up Washington. Just 30 percent of Americans view the tea party favorably in a new Gallup poll released Wednesday, the movement’s lowest point since Gallup began polling about it during its rise in 2010. Also in a first, a majority of Americans had an unfavorable view of the tea party, at 51 percent. Similar numbers of respondents described themselves as proponents or opponents of the tea party: Twenty-two percent identified themselves as tea party supporters, while 24 percent said they